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Exploring the ‘journey’ behind our buildings

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People usually engage with architecture once something is already built, but the final result is the “end point of a long journey”, says architect Jennifer Fleming of award-winning COX.

That journey will be highlighted in events focusing on architects at this month’s DESIGN Canberra Festival, on from 21-29 November. Featuring three open studios and a talk series, the events will provide a rare and rewarding insight into the complex workings of an architect.

Box House by Rob Henry Architects. Photo by arthi Ayyar-Biddle.

Box House by Rob Henry Architects. Photo by Aarthi Ayyar-Biddle.

As one of the architectural firms participating in Living Artists, a series of open studios, Jennifer says COX will give a realistic overview of its practice, which incorporates projects from small-scale house extensions to large commercial and public buildings, including Canberra Centre, Westside and the East Hotel.

“For those interested in the day to day practice of design, or perhaps thinking about a career in design, it’s a good chance to see how our office works,” Jennifer says.

“At the open studio we will be talking about the pieces of the puzzle that have to come together to make a building happen. As people become more interested in the spaces they live in, and as Canberra goes through a period of change and development, this event will help people understand the whole design process.”

COX Architecture Open Studio

COX Architecture Open Studio

The second open studio, run by award-winning Rob Henry Architects and De Rome Architects, will provide the public with an opportunity to see the steps an architect takes to design a building, and uncover what to expect in the design process. Rob Henry Architects and De Rome Architects are behind the 2015 architecture award-winning Box House located in Wamboin.

Architect Rob Henry says he hopes talking about the process will highlight the scales of built form and varying budgets architects tend to work with.

“This is important because it breaks the myth that architects are only interested in high-budget projects with highly modern design outcomes,” Rob says.

“Seeing how an architect works will also illustrate to the public that the process is a highly collaborative one which leads to a design outcome that is tailored to the buildings occupants and the site context.”

GMB 02 Mawson Institute

Guida Moseley Brown Architects

In the final open studio, run by award-winning Guida Moseley Brown Architects, locals can engage direct with the design team to learn about the practice of architecture and hear about significant projects, including the new Canberra Airport Terminal, Hong Kong Legislative Council, a new Parliament building for Samoa and the proposed Australia Forum in Canberra.

With Canberra’s residential development scene booming, there should be plenty of interest in the Archi-TEAM talk series, brought to DESIGN Canberra by the Australian Institute of Architects. The series focuses on everything from approval processes, challenges faced on site and the transition from paper to home. A different Archi-TEAM and project will feature each night over four nights from three perspectives—architect, client and builder.

Organisers say there’s something for everyone at this year’s DESIGN Canberra Festival. The 70 activities include pop-up exhibitions, installations, studios, exhibitions and DESIGN Buzz, which sees amazing speakers from Australia and overseas discuss big questions facing the world of design and is on for two nights only (ticketed event).

For the full program, click here.

the essentials

What: DESIGN Canberra Festival

Where: Various locations around Canberra

Cost: Free for most activities

When: 21 to 29 November

Web: designcanberrafestival.com.au


Feature image: Rob Henry Architects

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